Council of Europe to support LBT women

Council of Europe logo April 13th, 2011 by Ruth.Pearce

Lesbian, bisexual and trans women are explicitly included in a new Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women.

The Convention is intended to enable a Europe-wide legal framework for tackling sexist violence including domestic abuse, rape, forced marriage, ‘honour killings’, and genital mutilation. It will come into force once ratified by 10 member states.

The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA-Europe) successfully lobbied for a non-discrimination article that included LBT women. Representatives of the organisation emphasise that this is the first time that sexual orientation and gender identity have ever been included in a legally binding international treaty.

“ILGA-Europe warmly welcomes the adoption of the Convention and the recognition that lesbian, bisexual and trans women are particularly vulnerable to violence and require specific measure of protection,” said Co-Chair Linda Freimane. “We urge governments of Council of Europe member states to ratify the Convention as soon as possible.”

Freimane slammed Russia and the Vatican for their opposition to the non-discrimination article. “While celebrating this important advance, we are shocked that at all stages the Russian Federation and Holy See opposed specific inclusion of protection from violence for LBT women in the Convention, raising disturbing questions regarding the extent of their commitment to such fundamental rights as the right to life, and the right to protection from violence.”

The 47-state Council of Europe is an international group with a focus on European integration and human rights. Its best-known body is the European Court of Human Rights.

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